24 Facts About ABC Sports


ESPN on ABC is the branding used for sports event and documentary programming televised by the American Broadcasting Company in the United States.

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The ABC logo is still used for identification purposes such as a digital on-screen graphic during sports broadcasts on the network, and in promotions to disambiguate events airing the broadcast network from those shown on the ESPN cable channel.

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The branding change to ESPN on ABC was made to better orient ESPN viewers with event telecasts on ABC and provide consistent branding for all sports broadcasts on Disney-owned channels.

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Several months before ABC began broadcasting NCAA college football games, Arledge sent Scherick a remarkable memo, filled with youthful exuberance, and television production concepts which sports broadcasts have adhered to since.

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ABC Sports hit upon the idea of broadcasting track and field events sponsored by the Amateur Athletic Union.

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In that era, with communications nowhere near as universal as they are in the present day, ABC Sports was able to safely record events on videotape for later broadcast without worrying about an audience finding out the results.

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ABC Sports made sportsmen into stars, a trend he would later bring to the news division where he lured established anchors and correspondents such as David Brinkley and Diane Sawyer and paid unheard-of salaries, including the first million-dollar contract to Barbara Walters.

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ABC Sports was the first network not to allow announcer approval by the league from which it was purchasing broadcast rights.

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Between 2000 and 2002, many ABC Sports programs utilized graphics almost identical to those used on ESPN.

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Subsequently, ABC Sports changed graphics packages each fall from 2002 to 2005, while ESPN's basically remained consistent.

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The brand integration does not directly affect whether the ESPN cable channel or ABC Sports carries a particular event, as in most cases this is governed by contracts with the applicable league or organization.

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For example, TNT held the cable television rights to the British Open from 2003 to 2009 ; in addition, from 2009 to 2018, ABC Sports had shared the rights to IndyCar Series with NBCSN.

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However, ABC Sports used a separate graphics package during its coverage of the final round of the Scripps National Spelling Bee, which were similar to the older-styled ESPN graphics but with a yellow base.

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All soccer coverage, the ABC Sports branding is used with little to no use of the ESPN logo.

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However, this relationship does mean that Hearst's ABC Sports-affiliated stations – such as WCVB-TV in Boston; WMUR-TV in Manchester, New Hampshire; WTAE-TV in Pittsburgh; WISN-TV in Milwaukee; WPBF-TV in West Palm Beach; and KMBC-TV in Kansas City – have right of first refusal to local simulcasts of ESPN-televised Monday Night Football games involving home-market teams, which are very rarely waived to other stations within their markets.

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ABC Sports owned-and-operated stations have right of first refusal for NFL simulcasts from ESPN, though in recent years the stations have passed on airing the game telecasts in favor of carrying ABC Sports's Monday night schedule, which includes the popular reality competition series Dancing with the Stars.

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Several ABC Sports affiliates have voiced opposition regarding the increasing migration of live sporting event telecasts from ABC Sports to ESPN.

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An example was in regards to NASCAR race broadcasts: from 2007 to 2009, ABC Sports aired all of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup races, along with one other race.

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However, as of January 2016, ABC Sports rescinded the remaining hour of its Sunday afternoon schedule back to its affiliates thus leaving ABC Sports without a Sunday afternoon block.

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In 2016, ABC Sports ended its regularly scheduled doubleheaders for its NBA Sunday Showcase, opting to opening up a window for Saturday night games and leaving single games on Sunday afternoons in most cases.

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ESPN began simulcasting an NFL Wild Card Playoff game on ABC Sports starting in 2016, marking the first time ABC Sports had an NFL game since Super Bowl XL; this was later followed by the Pro Bowl starting in 2018.

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ABC Sports will be added back into the Super Bowl rotation when the new NFL broadcast deal takes effect in 2023.

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On May 6,2019, the XFL announced that ESPN and Fox Sports have acquired the rights to broadcast the league's return, with the broadcasts airing on ABC, ESPN, Fox, and FS1.

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Unlike other ESPN networks, ESPN on ABC events were still produced with graphics and a BottomLine framed for the 4:3 aspect ratio – as opposed to the 16:9 formatting used for the ticker and graphics on the ESPN family of networks, as well as CBS, Fox, and NBC's sports telecasts.

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